Ready to be made a man out of? Mulan, the latest in Disney’s round of live-action remakes (and the first one to earn a PG-13 rating), is coming to theaters later this month, and the first round of reactions has hit the Internet from early press screenings. Niki Caro (Whale Rider) directs the big-budget wuxia take on the original 1998 animated film, and while there’s no more Mushu, you have international superstar Liu Yifei playing the title role, a woman who disguises herself as a man in place of her father (Tzi Ma) to volunteer in battle against the Huns. Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee, Yoson An, Gong Li, and Jet Li all co-star.
So how is it? Well great, apparently. Many are calling this one of Disney’s best live-action remakes yet if not the best, noting how Caro has made a truly epic action film. That’s great news if you, like me, became a bit tired by the last few rote, CG-driven remakes. Apparently there’s a concerted focus on practical effects and high-flying action here, with Liu Yifei delivering a standout performance as the titular character. Fans of the animated original will apparently enjoy the subtle nods to that film while not missing the absence of songs. As it turns out, not just translating the story/characters/dialogue of the animated movie to a live-action version is actually a winning formula! Who knew?
Indeed, the early entries like Cinderella and Pete’s Dragon put some radical new twists on well-known Disney films, but the latter movies like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King have been lacking in originality. Here’s hoping Mulan is the beginning of a new trend for the rest of Disney’s upcoming live-action remakes.
The cast of Mulan is fantastic in the film. There are lots of little moments that nods to the animated that’ll make the fans happy. Very beautiful & epic cinematography. It had more fantastical elements than I expected. Overall, a great re-telling of the animated and very fun 🙌🏼
— Wendy Lee Szany (@WendyLeeSzany) March 10, 2020
Also! Surprisingly sexy for a Disney movie. Case in point: the very loud “OH MY GOD” that was uttered in the theater when Yoson An took his shirt off. #Mulan
— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) March 10, 2020
I’ve seen MULAN twice now and I must say it is grrrreat. Easily Disney’s best live action reboot. I think it’s also Disney’s first battle epic? It is beautiful & absorbing & rich & empowering. The cast is excellent and Niki Caro’s direction is just breathtaking.
— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) March 10, 2020
Disney’s Mulan remake leaves a lot behind, but offers much more in its absence. Plenty of 1998 throwbacks pepper a story full of incredible action, humor, and heart.
— Alison Foreman (@alfaforeman) March 10, 2020
#Mulan is absolutely fantastic. Different enough with great action scenes, but with the heart of the original film. It doesn't even matter that it's not a musical. If you're a fan of the animated, there are subtle nods to many of the songs. Can’t wait to see this again.
— Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) March 10, 2020
I’m very surprised at how much I liked the live action #Mulan movie. It’s so majestic, the action is thrilling, it aims for a level of sophistication and beauty you don’t expect.
(I was never a huge fan of the animated film, I think I’ve only seen it once. So no attachments)
— Peter Sciretta (@PeterSciretta) March 10, 2020
#Mulan is exciting, vibrant, emotional, and different from the animated version. It's definitely its own thing, which I dug – a more mature Disney film, featuring stunning production design & fight choreography. Director Niki Caro & star Liu Yifei are the big stand-outs, imo pic.twitter.com/p6IEQUDNBu
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) March 10, 2020